17 October 2007
Dear Lorne,

Once when I had my costume store, a local television reporter called shortly before Halloween to ask what the "hot" costume was this year. Had I been more business savvy, I would have told them what they wanted to hear, mentioning whatever character which corresponded with the best timed Hollywood release, or better yet the ones we were going to be stuck with, like those Dick Tracy yellow raincoats. But no, I tried to explain how costumes were a way of self expression and we hoped to offer the materials, props and inspiration. To reward my honesty, the camera crew went to the much larger, more established competitor for that golden free publicity that could have made a difference.

For some things, the conventional logic of assuming that the most popular choice is the best may apply, yet when it comes to having the chance to reveal your individuality, many end up showing their lack of it. Have you ever been to the Dunkerque carnival? Aside from drinking and eating and more drinking, the main activity is to parade around certain neighborhoods following small brass bands and singing special songs. One year during  Mardi Gras I had gone to Venice and was disappointed. Not having the connections as in France, it was like being a tourist. There were many posers in rented costumes. So we flew up the Dunkerque just in time and what a difference. They have balls too, the dancing kind, yet the party is out in the street where most men are done up as garish drag queens with fake eyelashes and boots, which you will need if you get into the crowd antics unless you want to end up with purple toes. They are not into masks there like in Venice, they don't need them.

 Do you enjoy wearing costumes and if so, which sort do you prefer?  Do you ever go out to Halloween parties? I rarely get out anymore, but I plan to be in New York towards the end of the month, so if you hear of any good ones, please let me know. If someone there will be participating in the Village parade, I would love to join them.

It's one thing to dress up when everybody else is, but much more interesting when nobody else is. Once I did an apology singing telegram for a couple in a very exclusive gated community that had been invited to a holiday gathering having been told it was a costume party. So they showed up dressed as clowns while everyone else was in normal attire. Have you ever danced wearing a London Palace Guard uniform and managed to balance the tall hat? There is a magic that comes out in some people when they can release their inhibitions in disguise. Too bad this is not more the rule than the exception.

Trick or treat,